Credit: Absa unveils plan for startups
Absa Bank Kenya has launched an investor readiness programme to enable 1,000 women start-ups access Sh3 million unsecured lending.
The initiative is called Tuungane2x to See Her Empowered, and will be rolled out in partnership with pan African financial advisory firm Melanin Kapital, de-risking credit facilities to the start-ups and enabling Absa offer favourable unsecured loans ranging from Sh100,000 to Sh3 million.
Absa’s Business Banking Director Elizabeth Wasunna said in addition to access to finance, the programme will enhance financial inclusion by providing the women with financial training, investment-readiness capacity building as well as structured mentorship and networking.
The partnership will leverage the bank’s expertise as a holistic financial services institution, and Melanin Kapital’s knowledge of connecting entrepreneurs to impact investors and mentorship programs.
“It has always been risky for investors and lenders to invest in small-scale businesses due to various reasons that also curtail their growth including lack of correct structures and documentations, collateral, relevant networks and track record among other challenges,” said Wasunna during the launch.
She said the partnership is a result of feedback received from SMEs across Kenya, especially start-ups and through it, we seek to address some of those bottlenecks with the aim of ensuring that they can survive after their 3rd birthday and beyond.”
Melanie Keïta, chief executive of Melanin Kapital said it was the company’s aim to make finance possible for early-stage impact businesses by de-risking them, making them investable and connecting them to impact-driven capital.
“We aim at bridging the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) financial gap by channeling more investments towards early-stage entrepreneurs operating in Africa, looking for pre-seed, seed as well as funding that focuses on solving a critical social impact challenge,” said Keita.
To qualify for funding, interested startups will have to access and register through the online programme management platform – Tuungane 2X – and undertake a 6-months investment readiness program that will culminate into project pitches to impact investors as well as to Absa Bank.